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'International community must share responsibility for educating Rohingya children'

  • Published at 09:18 am December 14th, 2019
Rohingya children en route to their schools in Cox’s Bazar
File photo: Rohingya children en route to their schools in Cox’s Bazar Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The Global Refugee Forum, which is being hosted by the UN’s refugee agency in Geneva and takes place from December 16-18, has made education one of its six key themes

Both Bangladesh and the international community must share the responsibility of educating all the children of both the host community and the Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar, Amnesty International has said.

The Global Refugee Forum, which is being hosted by the UN’s refugee agency in Geneva and takes place from December 16-18, has made education one of its six key themes.

More than half a million children have yet to see the inside of a classroom since they arrived in the refugee camps for more than two years ago, Amnesty International said issuing a press release on Friday, ahead of the first Global Refugee Forum.

“The Rohingya children in the camps in Cox’s Bazar must not become a lost generation. The international community must accept that they will not be able to return home to Myanmar any time soon. And they cannot continue to see their futures slowly stolen from them in conditions where they are being denied their right to education,” said Saad Hammadi, South Asia campaigner at Amnesty International.

On Bangladesh's responsibility, Hammadi said: "When a child receives education, everyone benefits. The Bangladesh government can start by lifting the restrictions on education for refugees currently in place"

“It is in everyone’s interests to see that all children in Cox’s Bazar receive a quality education as is their right. Education can lift entire communities. Far from being a burden on a national economy, it should be seen as an investment that will yield great dividends. But the denial of education can have very negative consequences,” said Saad Hammadi.

The host community in Cox’s Bazar suffers both from a shortage of teachers as they seek better paying jobs often in humanitarian agencies and high student dropout rates partly due to pressure on children to enter the workforce early to meet the higher cost of living as household incomes continue to fall.

According to a multi-sector needs assessment released by the Inter Sector Coordination Group in October 2019, nearly a third of 1,311 households surveyed in Cox’s Bazar have at least one primary or secondary school aged child who was not attending school.

The 2019 Joint Response Plan for Rohingya refugees and the host community in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh received only 40 percent of the funding requirement for education out of US$59.9 million as of October. Humanitarian officials fear that the funding for education may decline further in 2020.

Access to appropriate accredited quality education is fundamental to equip the Rohingya children with knowledge that they can use to enjoy and claim their rights while also contributing to the economy irrespective of where they are.